Technology trends are changing the way we engage in business, from AI to machine learning, IOT, blockchain, robotics and more. Our technology revolution is also disrupting our entire ecosystem, providing access where there once was no connectivity. And technology impacts all types of companies: the legacy giants who need to transform to stay relevant, the new software startups with low overhead and every traditional company that’s adapting to this transformation and driving innovation in their industry.
We’re in the midst of a technology transformation, which I call the Techeffect.
How do we council our clients to communicate during this Techeffect to lead and differentiate? How do we communicate authentically and accurately to the right audiences while consistently delivering a data-driven impact? Here are a few suggestions.
This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Nov. '18 Technology PR Magazine
Legacy technology companies
These players have set the pace for the industry and while they don’t need to change their story, they need to evolve their audiences with whom they are communicating.
Their audience is no longer limited to the CIO or VP of IT. Just as every business is now a technology company, every executive — whether it’s the head of marketing, finance, operations or human resources — is also a technology customer.
The legacy technology companies need to start selling across the entire C-suite. They must be comfortable talking to the head of HR about how technology can help them better hire, train and engage their employees. They must adjust their mindset and start telling their story in a way that resonates with each of these executive roles and personas to have the greatest success going forward.
The hot, cool start-ups
These companies are typically seeking one of three things: a new funding round, an acquisition by a larger company or a public offering. Without a clear story and communications strategy, none of these outcomes is possible.
Startups should never try to be all things to all people. The winning business strategy is to identify an unaddressed problem or challenge in the market and then offer a very specific solution. But once this solution is developed, it must be communicated to customers. Companies like Uber and Slack have done this exceptionally well.
Winning for these companies is to create and deliver a laser-focused communications strategy that hammers your one key differentiator and highlights exactly why you are unique in the market.
Traditional non-tech companies
The reality is that, today, every company is a tech company. Even traditional organizations that have been in business for decades or centuries are coming to the conclusion that, to remain relevant, they must transform themselves into tech businesses.
So, whether you’re Ford, Walgreens or DHL, you need to embrace technology. You might be great at making cars or filling prescriptions or delivering packages. But you also need to be a great technology company.
This is increasingly challenging, because these companies are competing with the likes of Google and Amazon for top tech talent to continue to innovate and compete. However, traditional non-tech companies have an inherent advantage — their innovation is at the edge — where the technology is truly being implemented, deployed and consumed.
The communications opportunity with traditional businesses is three-fold; continue to lead on their core business value, share the consumer facing journey and effectively communicate the digital transformation story.
However, traditional companies have a definitive advantage: they can communicate how their technology is applied in exciting new ways to positively impact how we live, work and play.
Your company’s Techeffect story
No matter what type of company, everyone’s impacted by the Techeffect, and it’s our jobs, as communicators, to have a deep level of compression of the business dynamics that impact the entire tech landscape. Those with the right story will move confidently into the future, while those that don’t will inevitably get left behind.
Jodi Brooks is managing partner and technology practice lead at Finn Partners.